Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anonymous Fame

I got called for work the last couple of days, which is good because we need the money. Day shift at one of the local elementary schools- my favorite assignment. But I slept very little Tuesday night, and by the end of the day yesterday I was on empty. Nothing to say, and no words to say it with. And even now as I sit here I don't know where I'm going to go with this. I feel leaden, soggy- maybe getting a cold, I don't know.

This is an interesting phenomenon, this blogging business. A blog is a new medium, and the blog post post is really a new sort of literary form. I doubt that anyone sits down with their word processing program and carefully crafts, and re-crafts their material before putting it on line. Of course, there are no 'rules', but the protocol seems to require spontaneity: an impromptu pouring out of whatever is on the writer's radar at the moment.

Too, there is the issue of intimacy coupled with its opposite, publicity. On the one hand we realize that, for the best part, we have a very small, and very limited group of readers, but at the same time the blog is a broadcast that reaches every corner of the civilized world. It has your name on it, even though it is well nigh impossible for anyone to find out who you really are. It's like having your phone number "published" in the telephone directory. You don't generally open the book, turn to the page with your number on it, and then sit by the instrument waiting for someone to call and talk to you. You can, of course, promote yourself, mostly by posting comments on other, more widely read venues, and hope that someone will like your comment, and tune in to your own private broadcast . I see people do this a lot, but to me it looks cheap. Blog-pimping is the apt slang for this behavior.

And yet. Everyone who does this harbors some small hope that their home made site on Blogger will become a major draw, get linked at bigger sites, and earn a little fame, if no fortune. Anonymous fame. That is something new in the world. And that's all I seem to have this morning.



walt said...

I used to have a client who was a landscape architect, and fairly famous. Once I went to his office, and he showed me a table he had just finished making. Its base was a gnarled, multi-branched tree trunk which supported a thick, circular piece of glass. Sitting on the table was a bright red bowl, with nothing in it. Very contemporary.

He said of it, "I think it makes a nice presentation."

I thought, "Aha! Presentation!" For some reason that word suited what I was looking for, in terms of aesthetics. It could be this or that, your style or mine, whatever -- but my eyes would gauge it by the "presentation."

So yes, I blog -- but with an eye to presentation, which inevitably includes me, the subject matter, and the reader, in a "jig" that looks in my head not unlike your tripartite avatar, but in motion.

Fame, ehhh.
In that regard, I am an old Taoist hermit, and avoid it like it was a plague. I appreciate the respect of those I respect, but fame is different from that. Still, I know that some folks do desire it.... It comes with too high a price tag for me.

jwm said...

And you do have a superb eye for presentation, Walt. You blog shows it. The elements you selected for the template, the illustrations you select to compliment the posts, and the excerpts you select all work together to form a whole that, as the saying goes, is more than the sum of its parts.


mushroom said...

Good words. I know what you mean about pimping. The only place outside the coon-0-sphere that I comment is Big Hollywood -- except for the other raccoons that visit there, I wouldn't want many of those folks hanging around.

I like us.

It reminds me of the story about the family that had taken their newborn to be dedicated at church. On the way home the baby's slightly older brother is crying, and the parents ask him what is wrong.

Between sobs, he says, "The preacher prayed for us to be raised in a good Christian home." Bursting into tears again, he cries, "But I want to stay with you guys."

julie said...

I like us, too :)

I had an Instalanche a few weeks ago (which isn't fame, not by any stretch). It was bizarre - the number of visitors over the span of a couple of days was something like 4000 (where normally I have 50 or 60), but almost none of them had anything to say; maybe three or four out of all that actually commented (which is to be expected, I suppose, since it was just to look at pictures). It was like knowing a parade of ghosts was passing by just to stare at your strangeness for a few moments, and upon finding nothing LOLworthy or rant-inducing, deciding that you probably don't quite exist. And once the parade was over, within a couple days I was back to my regular readers.

Thank goodness.

Robin Starfish said...

Wow Julie - I'm jealous! ;-) Just kidding. Fame shmame.

I think of the Coonosphere as a small church, but unlike any I've ever physically attended, in which there are no spectators; everyone has a gift, has heard the call to use it, and is happily exploring the Oniverse with all the raccoon mischief he can muster.

Mischief drives regular folks crazy, so fame isn't a problem.

Sal said...

What? You don't want Terry and Trent and Movie Bob to hang out at your blog? I just can't imagine...

I started more as an on-line journal, to record things I wanted to remember. Though an audience is appreciated- I love the Racoon web.
But trying to achieve the profundity of Van, or JWM or Mushroom, or the artistic flair of QP, Julie, Walt or Robin, or the narrative skills of Ben- nah.

My eldest daughter, otoh, started hers as a way to keep in touch with family and friends when they moved to AZ. But she has discovered she has a real talent for story-telling and through links from other sites, now has a small fan-base as far as Idaho.
She was always a funny person, but never considered herself a writer (and her spelling is still abysmal). It's a surprise to us all, but a nice one.

Bob, of course, was the famous Gagdad Bob of LGF, but lost most people with the metaphysics.